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  Informational & Practice Publications, Resources, & Tools    

For Child Welfare Professionals

  • Promising Practices in Reunification
    This paper looks at five practices that are important components to reunification programs including: placement decision-making, parent-child visiting, intensive services, resource parent/birth parent collaboration, and aftercare services. By Susan Dougherty for the national Resource Center for Permanency and Family Connections (NRCPFC). (April 2004)

Teleconferences, Webinars, Webcasts &Videos

  • Reunification Models 
    The NRCPFC and CWLA hosted a teleconference for state foster care and adoption managers on reunification models and programs. (May 2007)

*Many of these resources were developed previously by the National Resource Center for
Permanency and Family Connections (NRCPFC).

  Informational & Practice Publications, Resources, & Tools    

For Child Welfare Professionals

  • Reunification of Foster Children with their Families: The First Permanency Outcome
    This publication from First Focus discusses reunification of foster children with their families.  It describes the challenge of reunification, includes examples of promising State approaches, and discusses Federal funding.  This resource also provides ideas on what State advocates can do to promote and support reunification.  (October 2013).
  • Supporting Reunification and Preventing Reentry Into Out-of-Home Care 
    As part of the Child Welfare Information Gateway State Managers Series, this resource for professionals explores the benefits of supporting reunification and preventing reentry, and discusses approaches and specific strategies that support reunification and prevent reentry, including State and local examples. (February 2012)
  • Family Reunification: What the Evidence Shows 
    This issue brief from the Child Welfare Information Gateway identifies meaningful family engagement, assessment and case planning, and service delivery as strategies that are most helpful in family reunification. These strategies are explored through findings from the Child and Family Services Reviews, review of literature on family reunification, and successful practice examples from the field. (June 2011)

For Youth & Families

  • The Long Shadow of Foster Care: Rise Magazine
    When children come home from foster care, parents hope they can leave the trauma of separation behind them. But for many families, separation casts a shadow for years to come. In this issue of RISE magazine, parents describe the impact of removal long after reunification and explore what the child welfare system could do differently to protect kids and support families. Rise magazine is written by and for parents involved in the child welfare system. Its mission is to help parents advocate for themselves and their children. (Spring 2012)
  Research & Reports    
  • Parents’ Pasts and Families’ Futures: Using Family   Assessments to Inform Perspectives on Reasonable Efforts and Reunification
    In this Chapin Hall study, comprehensive family assessments conducted by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services are used to identify and better understand the experiences of a subset of parents involved with the child welfare system who report extensive exposure to trauma in their own personal histories. The authors, Cheryl Smithgall, Jan DeCoursey, Duck-Hye Yang, and Lisa Haseltine, explore the relationship between parents’ childhood experiences and their current functioning. The report examines what caseworkers and clinicians see as the initial prognosis for these families and the reunification and reentry outcomes for their children. The findings that a subset of parents involved with the child welfare system have extensive childhood trauma experiences and present with multiple problems or service needs have implications for caseworker engagement as well as interventions. The study raises fundamental questions about our obligation and approaches to serving parents, protecting children, and promoting well-being. The report aims to encourage dialogue about what policies and practices might need to be developed and implemented in order to improve long-term child and family well-being outcomes for this particular group of families. (2012)
  Teleconferences, Webinars, Webcasts & Videos    
  State Examples    
  • New Mexico:  Child Protection Best Practices Bulletins: Transition Home Plans
    In New Mexico, the permanency option of reunification requires the development of a Transition Home Plan which includes efforts to maintain supportive relationships with the community, among other essential elements in achieving the transition home. This bulletin outlines best practices and describes the roles of caseworkers, judges, attorneys, court staff, CASA volunteers, parents, and youth in developing the Transition Plan.  The bulletin was jointly published by Advocacy Inc., The Corinne Wolfe Children’s Law Center (CLC) at the University of New Mexico School of Law, Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children (CASA), New Mexico Children, Youth, and Families Department, New Mexico Children’s Court Improvement Commission (CCIC), and New Mexico Citizens Review Board. (2011)
  • North Carolina:  Time-Limited Family Reunification Services 
    This chapter in the North Carolina Division of Social Services Child Welfare Services Manual provides a description of their protocol involving time-limited family reunification services and includes the principles of family reunification and definitions. (July 2013)
  • Washington:  Family Reunification in Washington State: Which Children Go Home and How Long Does It Take?
    This research brief looks at part of a study from Partners for Our Children (POC), in cooperation with the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS)/Children’s Administration (CA), that aimed to identify child, parent, and placement related factors that could predict family reunification. Findings from the study show parents with greater personal assets (education) and resource assets (housing), as well as parents who trusted their social workers and saw the potential benefits of child welfare involvement were likely to have faster reunification rates. By Maureen Marcenko, Maureen Newby and Joseph Mienko, Partners for Our Children at the University of Washington, and Mark Courtney, Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago. (August 2011)

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Last updated 8/18/14